Exhibition | Performance | Artists’ Projects | Work in Progress
02 May – 08 June 2014
Larry Achiampong, Neil Bartlett, Rebecca Birch, David Blandy, Brasenose College, Simon East, Blessing Force, The Gluts, Ed Hall, Raphael Hefti, Louise Hervé and Chloé Maillet, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Michael Govan, Jeremy Hutchison, Natasha Kidd, Serena Korda, Richard Lawrence, Peter Liechti, LUX, Prof Anne Massey, Stuart Marhsall, Fraser Muggeridge, Vik Muniz, Paul Nash, Oxford Print Makers Co-Op, Francesco Pedraglio, John Reardon, The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, John Smith, Lesley Sharpe, Amy Thellusson, Alex Woodcock, Tom Woolner.
This exhibition is about the idea of learning through making; the proposition that an artist’s working process – the practical realisation and manifestation of ideas, is a form of research in and of itself. Over the course of five weeks a changing presentation of installations, free workshops and discussions offer visitors to the gallery an insight into the creative process and the mechanics of artistic production by making visible the processes involved.
For this reason the gallery has been transformed into a space not just for the appreciation of art works but as a site for it’s making and production. In doing this the exhibition aims to offer visitors a greater insight of contemporary artists’ work and practice while also challenging ideas both about what a gallery is for and how art can be presented. In this respect Test Run is itself an experiment, offering a way to actively engage with art and ideas through their making.
By focusing on process rather than finished product Test Run offers an alternative perspective on creative practice by considering the experience and expertise that comes from working with materials and ideas and the potential this engenders in a wider world.
Many of the ideas and principles explored in Test Run will feature again in the coming year, beginning a dialogue with the coming year’s exhibitions programme. The relationship between artisan and industrial production for example, is often portrayed as being polarised. However, artists have long been fascinated by industrial methods of production from early cinema, to the Italian futurists, to Andy Warhol just as industry has learned from the discovery and invention of the single maker.
As with industry, artistic production is as closely bound to its consumption as its making. Test Run aims to act as a catalyst for thought and debate about the origins of things; from cars to conceptions of gender – how they are made, why they are consumed and by whom. Does the consumer have a social and political responsibility of care for the products they choose? To what extent do we all have blind spots in our ethical ideologies?
When thinking about the relationship between the hand made and the industrial – the authentic and the mass produced– the debate often centres on worth and authority; what is valuable and who decides? In a society in which making is fetishized, with production in the hands of the few, is power with a consuming multitude or a controlling elite? Test Run is a challenge to this dichotomy; offering free access to a variety of skills, knowledge and activities, reflecting on the interrelation of production and consumption and the importance of making as a way of thinking about, understanding and shaping the world.
Thanks to Arts Catalyst, Richard Laurence, Hollywell Press, Oxford Print Makers Co-Operative.
Download further information here: TEST RUN Exhibition Notes